I’m a girl so I must like dresses, yes? No! Because A) It’s not 1950 and B) I’m a bit too tomboy to wear dresses. It helps if you’re all Claudia Schiffer whereas I’m just a bit Claude! That’s not to say I don’t own any though. I’ve some lovely, I’d go as far as to say beautiful, dresses, some bought for me as gifts, some just bought on a whim but they inevitably end up gathering dust at the back of the wardrobe whilst the shorts see all the fun on a sunny day. However, whilst perusing the virtual shopping aisles of eBay what should I stumble upon but the Ruby Dress by SimpleSew. As I said, I’m not a big fan of dresses (years of growing up in scrap yards put paid to too much girliness) but Ruby is a beauty that was begging to be made so I thought I’d pop my dressmaking cherry and give it a go.
This is the part where I introduce Matilda (say Hi!), my dressmakers mannequin. I’d use the word dummy but I don’t want to be unkind 🙂 Here’s Matilda modelling a previous creation of mine
Now the formalities are out of the way, let’s get back to Ruby. Ruby is a stunning, vintage inspired, skater style dress with a high neckline, deep V back and a flared full skirt. Simply stunning.
I’ve made the odd piece of clothing here and there but nothing quite as structured and lovely as this and, being a bit of a tight arse to be honest, I didn’t want to waste perfectly good fabric on something I could completely mess up so I bought a duvet cover to make Ruby from. Yes, you did read that correctly, a duvet cover (from Wilkinsons for those of you that are interested!). The amount of material you get for the small amount of pennies is amazing.
So, this is how it went …..
1) Initial pattern cutting went as well as could be expected. It’s basically cutting out shapes, I’ve been queen of this since I was 3 years old 🙂
2) After ironing the pattern itself, on a very low heat I must add, I ironed the duvet cover and sliced it open along the seams.
3) I laid out all the pattern pieces to ensure I minimised the fabric waste (I told you I was a tight arse!) and pinned them all down.
4) The pattern calls for 1/4 seam so I devised what I thought was quite a good technique for ensuring even seamage (possibly not a real word, in fact I think I just made it up). I took 2 pencils and held them side by side, then carefully drew around the pattern. Voila, even seamage 🙂
5) Next up was the actual sewing part! No need to panic, it was pretty much as easy as 1,2,3. I started by sewing in the darts at both the chest and the waist and then joining the front bodice to the back bodice at the shoulders, right side to right side. I then joined the facing pieces together at the shoulders and again right side to right side. It does ask for the facing edges to be finished with a zig zag stitch first which you could do on an overlocker for a neater finish but I don’t have an overlocker because I’m not the Mary Berry of the sewing world ….. yet! 🙂
The bodice and the facing then needed to be joined together (right side to right side) and then sewn all along the edge of the neckline and the armholes. I trimmed off any excess and cut a few notches into the seam allowance so that it all sat nice and flat.
6) Now came the really tricky bit of pulling the whole thing through an armhole one side at a time. Sound awkward? Yes, it was!
7) Press, Press, Press! I cannot reiterate enough how important it is to press this dress at every opportunity.
8) The next stage was matching the bottom of the front bodice to the top of the front skirt and then repeating this for both the back right and back left bodice / skirts. Then came a smidge more sewing to connect all the seams.
9) By this point it looked a little like a dodgy tabbard in that it went over my head but didn’t do up at the sides. So I then sewed along both side seams, top to bottom.
10) Now came the concealed zip part. Not to say I was worried about this bit but I was sweating like a mouse in full view of a cat. I’d never put in a concealed zip before but guess what, it actually wasn’t too awful. I’ll be adding a concealed zip tutorial very soon so panic not if you’re in the same boat 🙂
11) The next part asked for the remaining skirt seam to be sewn together which was relatively easy and …..
12) The final part! Ooh I felt like I’d run a marathon fuelled by chocolate biscuits, fizzy pop and a slightly cheesy 80’s soundtrack. The final part was hemming the skirt. I nipped round the skirt first with a finishing stitch to stiffen it slightly and then carefully, very carefully hemmed a quite narrow hem.
Dress done! Skill set added to!
Ooh I take it all back, I really rather like this dress 👗